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Khodorkovsky Meets With Family Members in Berlin

  • VOA News

Boris Khodorkovsky (R), father of Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, arrives to hotel Adlon in Berlin, Dec. 21, 2013.

Boris Khodorkovsky (R), father of Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, arrives to hotel Adlon in Berlin, Dec. 21, 2013.

Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was reunited with his family in Berlin on Saturday, a day after being released from a decade-long imprisonment in Russia.

Khodorkovsky's spokesman says he met with his oldest son, Pavel, and his parents, Marina and Boris, who flew to Berlin to see him.

Marieluise Beck, a member of Germany's parliament and a supporter of Khodorkovsky, also met with him. She said she has been "fighting for his freedom" for year but not met him before.

FILE - Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands in the defendants' cage during a court session in Moscow in 2010.

FILE - Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands in the defendants' cage during a court session in Moscow in 2010.

​Khodorkovsky, a long-time critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, spent more than 10 years of detention in a Russian prison for tax evasion and embezzlement. He left Russia for Berlin on Friday, soon after Mr. Putin signed a pardon for him.

Khodorkovsky is expected to hold a news conference on Sunday at "Checkpoint Charlie," a crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War.

Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos oil company head, was long viewed by many as a political prisoner.

After his release on Friday, he said in a statement that he asked Mr. Putin on November 12 to pardon him in connection with "family circumstances" and that he was glad the response was positive. He said the issue of admission of guilt was not raised.

Russia's federal prison service said Friday Khodorkovsky had requested to travel to Germany, where his mother has been receiving medical treatment.

Mr. Putin said Friday he was pardoning the long-time Kremlin critic for humanitarian reasons.

The U.S. government welcomed the pardon, calling it a "humanitarian gesture" and "a positive development for Russian society."

Russia is hosting the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in February. The lead-up to the event has put the country's human rights record in the spotlight.
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